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Five Marks Of An Awakening

Posted by Pastor J.D. on January 14, 2015
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Second Chronicles 29–31 is the story of a king who stood in the gap of faithlessness and disobedience for the people of God at a crucial moment in history. King Hezekiah was a man who believed God on behalf of his people, whose faith and radical “all-in” obedience preserved his nation from disaster. His faith precipitated a national revival, and shows us five marks of any awakening.

1. Awakening happens when God’s people clean out the junk from their lives (2 Chr 29:3-5).

“In the first month of the first year of his reign, Hezekiah re-opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites and said: ‘Listen to me, Levites! Remove all defilement from the sanctuary’” (2 Chr 29:3–5). Hezekiah started this revival with himself, the priests, and the house of worship. This wasn’t an accident: revival always begins in the house of God.

We often think the problem is somewhere out there. “They” are the problem, whoever “they” happen to be. Hollywood is too immoral; the media is too liberal; professors are too cynical; millenials are too rebellious. Sure, the world is sinful. But their sin isn’t keeping God from pouring out his blessing. Sin in the church is. What prevents awakening in a community is a community of Christians that harbors secret bitterness, anger, and infidelity. Nothing drives out the presence of the Holy Spirit like unconfessed sin in the church. Revival and awakening always begin when God’s people get serious about their sin.

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Don’t Miss Advance The Church 13!

Posted by Pastor J.D. on January 9, 2013
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On March 19–21, pastors and leaders from around the country will gather in Raleigh-Durham, NC, for ADVANCE13: Building a Faithful and Effective Church. I am honored to be one of the speakers at this event, and I am thrilled to see what God will do through this conference. Among others, the speakers include John Piper, Matt Chandler, David Platt, and Larry Osborne. I am honored to spend some time with men like these who are truly committed to both making disciples and reaching the lost.

This conference revolves around a simple but pressing question: How do we build churches that are both faithful and effective? There is a false dichotomy in the church today between these two: we are effective or we are faithful; we aim for depth or width; we are making disciples or reaching the lost. Most of our churches pick a side in the debate, and many excel in that area. So some churches focus so much on discipleship that they aren’t concerned about the lost, while others focus so much on evangelism that their members have no depth.

In the gospel, however, there is a better way. The gospel calls for both, because faithfulness and effectiveness cannot be separated. Churches that grow wide without sending down roots are not producing width that lasts. On the other hand, churches that go deep without spreading the gospel out wide are not nearly as deep as they think.

What we need is a resurgence of faithful and effective churches. And that is precisely the point of this conference. The lineup of speakers mixes pastors, theologians, and experienced practitioners, both from the church and the business world. Our aim is to equip not only pastors, but also all church members, for everyday ministry both inside and outside the church. This promises to be one of the richest and most practical conferences of the year—and I hope to see you there!

Sign up here today!

Preachers – Do You Need A Week Off?

Posted by Pastor J.D. on December 16, 2012
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One of the greatest responsibilities and challenges of pastoring a small church or church plant is preaching every week. Charles Spurgeon said, “If any man will preach as he should preach, his work will take more out of him than any other labor under heaven.” Even the most passionate and gifted preachers need a week off every once in a while, and Spurgeon was no exception. These might be times to take a vacation with your family (Spurgeon often took his family to France) or to focus on other ministries of the church that need attention. One thing I repeatedly hear from pastors who preach weekly is how much God uses a week off to refresh them and give them new vision and direction for their church. These can be some of the most fruitful times of the year.

The problem, of course, is finding someone to fill the pulpit. Often you don’t have someone else who is qualified to preach or the funds to bring in a preacher.

We at The Summit would love to help you with that. One of the results of being a church that is training church planters is that we have several men who can preach and are looking for opportunities. These are not beginning preachers, stumbling through their first steps. They are men who we have been trained and vetted to preach God’s Word. They are looking to gain more experience before they go out and pastor or plant themselves. So we’ve decided to launch a pulpit supply ministry for churches in our region.

Here’s how it works: you contact us and tell us about your church, and we’ll connect you with a preacher that we think will be a good fit. Take the week off and go on a vacation with your family. Or stay in town – our guys would love to take you to lunch, get your feedback on the sermon, and pick your brain on ministry. You don’t even have to pay them. An honorarium is always a blessing, but you are providing a service to them by opening your pulpit and giving them your feedback.

If you want to find out more, contact Josh Miller at jmiller@summitRDU.com. We’re excited to serve your church and partner with you to develop more pastors to help fulfill the Great Commission.